La Jolla News Nuggets: Harry’s reopens, UCSD professor on Biden team, Blue Planet Prize, more

Harry's Coffee Shop in La Jolla reopened June 18 after a five-week closure caused when a car crashed into it.
Harry’s Coffee Shop on Girard Avenue in La Jolla reopened June 18 after a five-week closure caused when a car crashed into it.
(James Rudolph)

Harry’s Coffee Shop reopens after crash

Harry’s Coffee Shop on Girard Avenue in La Jolla reopened June 18 after a five-week closure caused when a car crashed into the rear of the building.

“We’re thrilled to reopen,” owner John Rudolph said. “We’re honored and humbled to know customers are eager to get back to their routines at Harry’s. This has been a challenging time for all involved. We thank the construction workers who worked to rebuild and repair. We thank our employees. And we thank the community for its steadfast support.”

Harry’s is currently serving a limited menu, with a return to full service expected soon.

On May 12, a car driven by La Jolla resident Jay Zybelman crashed into the rear of the Harry’s building, hitting the restrooms and kitchen. The crash injured Zybelman, his wife in the car and a Harry’s employee in the kitchen.

Zybelman later told the La Jolla Light that “I put my foot on the brake and I couldn’t stop it.” He said he was going to have the car’s brakes tested for possible malfunction.

Authorities initially reported that the vehicle’s driver mistook the accelerator for the brake.

The crash caused fire crews to evacuate Harry’s and two adjacent buildings while they secured utility lines.

UC San Diego professor joins Biden economic team

UC San Diego economics professor Renee Bowen
UC San Diego economics professor Renee Bowen has been appointed to the Biden administration.
(UC San Diego)

Renee Bowen, pastor faculty fellow at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy and the Department of Economics, has joined the Biden administration as senior economist for trade with the Council of Economic Advisers. The appointment is for one year.

In her new role, Bowen, an economics professor and director of the Center for Commerce and Diplomacy, will focus on international economic matters and coordinating with other agencies, including the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the National Security Council and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

“I am extremely excited to serve in the Biden administration by providing expertise on economic policy based on data, research and evidence,” Bowen said in a statement. “I look forward to creating more opportunities to bridge the worlds of policymaking and academia to help build a better future for the United States and the world.”

For the past year, Bowen has served on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Council of Economic Advisors, where she consulted the governor and California’s Department of Finance director, Keely Martin Bosler, on economic issues.

“Dr. Bowen’s ongoing research on political economy, microeconomic theory and international trade is widely valued in public-policy decision making at the highest levels,” UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla said in a statement. “Her experience in governance, including advising California’s leaders on the complexities of global economic policy, will be a tremendous asset to the Biden administration and to our nation.”

Bowen previously was a consultant at the World Bank on international trade policy for Sub-Saharan Africa and an investment banking analyst at J.P. Morgan Securities. — City News Service

UCSD climate scientist to receive Blue Planet Prize

UCSD climate scientist Veerabhadran Ramanathan is being honored with the international Blue Planet Prize.
Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a climate scientist at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, is being honored with the international Blue Planet Prize.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Climate scientist Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a researcher and professor at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla who pioneered work on climate “super pollutants,” has been selected to receive the 2021 Blue Planet Prize.

The international award is given annually by Japan’s Asahi Glass Foundation to honor accomplishments that have contributed to the “improvement of the global environment.” The ceremony is held in the fall.

In 1975 while working for NASA, Ramanathan established that chlorofluorocarbons, gases previously only associated with depletion of the ozone layer, contributed to climate change. For nearly 100 years, scientists had believed that carbon dioxide was the only human-produced greenhouse gas.

Ramanathan, now 76, went on to do groundbreaking work on the impact of atmospheric “brown clouds,” a mixture of soot, methane, ozone and industrial gases. His calculations projected that such pollution would disrupt monsoon seasons affecting millions of subsistence farmers in his native India.

Most recently, he’s worked with Pope Francis to raise awareness about the implications of climate change on the world’s most vulnerable populations. — The San Diego Union-Tribune

DPR approves La Jolla Shores Drive home project

After a favorable review the week before, the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee approved a necessary permit June 15 for construction of a new house at 9430 La Jolla Shores Drive.

Applicants Spencer and Tessa Ward sought a coastal development permit to demolish a 1,541-square-foot single-family residence and 400-square-foot detached garage and build a new 3,382-square-foot one-story house with a new detached 560-square-foot garage.

After seeing the requested streetscape to show the proposed house in context with its neighbors, along with plans for landscaping, DPR unanimously approved the renderings. The plans proceed to the La Jolla Community Planning Association for ratification.

Muirlands Middle School students off to Young Leaders Conference

Alassane Diagne, Em Gonzalez, Mila Maxwell and Max Prantil, all students at Muirlands Middle School in La Jolla, are headed to Washington, D.C., to participate in the Junior National Young Leaders Conference beginning Monday, June 28.

The students, nominated by Muirlands social-studies teacher Mark Heinze, will be housed in college dormitories, given topics to research and must write a legislative bill to present to the conference attendees.

Heinze said the conference “is designed for students who have leadership potential” and strong speaking skills.

“I’m really excited,” said Max, who added that he’s been researching sites in Washington to visit and is looking forward to the speeches and writing classes.

Briefing on aquaculture set for June 29

The American Fisheries Society and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will present “Marine Aquaculture for Climate Resilience and Climate-Friendly Food Production” at 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 29, online.

The congressional briefing will discuss how offshore aquaculture presents an opportunity to reduce carbon footprint from imported seafood, increase domestic seafood supplies and jobs, relieve pressures on wild fish stocks from increased demand and increase the resiliency of food systems in the face of climate change.

The proposed Pacific Ocean AquaFarms project, spearheaded by the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute and Long Beach-based investment group Pacific6 Enterprises, aims to produce up to 5,000 metric tons of yellowtail fish annually in federal waters about four miles off the coast of Bird Rock. It is currently under review by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

To register for the briefing, visit

Salk research advances closer to stem cell therapy for Type 1 diabetes

Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla say they are developing a promising approach for treating Type 1 diabetes: using stem cells to create insulin-producing cells that could replace nonfunctional pancreatic cells.

Type 1 diabetes, a disease that arises when the pancreas doesn’t create enough insulin to control levels of glucose in the blood, currently has no cure and is difficult for most patients to manage.

In a study published June 7 in the journal Nature Communications, Salk investigators reported that they have developed a new way to create insulin-producing cells (called beta cells) that is much more efficient than previous methods. Additionally, when these beta cells were tested in a mouse model, the animals’ blood sugar was brought under control within about two weeks, according to the study.

“Stem cells are an extremely promising approach for developing many cell therapies, including better treatments for Type 1 diabetes,” said Salk professor Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a La Jolla resident and the paper’s senior author. “This method for manufacturing large numbers of safe and functional beta cells is an important step forward.”

More research is needed to assess safety issues before clinical trials can begin in humans, the investigators said.

Salk Institute again scores highest rating from nonprofit evaluator

For the 10th consecutive time, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla has earned the highest rating — four out of four stars — from Charity Navigator, the country’s largest independent evaluator of charities and nonprofits.

Only 3 percent of the roughly 10,000 nonprofits evaluated have achieved that recognition 10 consecutive times.

“This recognition by Charity Navigator of Salk’s continued success achieving the highest level of fiscal accountability and transparency among our peers is exciting and something we are proud to receive once again,” Salk Institute President Rusty Gage said in a statement.

Recent donor support for Salk initiatives included gifts of $30 million from the Bezos Earth Fund and $12.5 million from Hess Corp., both for Salk’s Harnessing Plants Initiative, which aims to use plants to store more carbon and adapt to diverse climate conditions.

The NOMIS Foundation gave $9.5 million to Salk’s NOMIS Center for Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis to grow and expand.

96% of seniors at The Preuss School are accepted to four-year colleges

As The Preuss School in La Jolla celebrated the graduation of 108 high school seniors June 17, it reported that 96 percent were accepted to at least one four-year college or university, with a record 52 accepted to UC San Diego. All will be the first in their families to graduate from college.

The Preuss School is a charter middle and high school on the UCSD campus that enrolls students from low-income families from more than 40 neighborhoods in San Diego County.

The members of the class of 2021 spent their entire senior year learning remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Somali Family Service launches community health worker training

To help train and prepare the next generation of community health workers, Somali Family Service of San Diego recently launched SHIFA360, a team of health and wellness experts from Somali Family Service, Scripps Clinic, UC San Diego and Palomar College.

In partnership with the San Diego Workforce Partnership, SHIFA360 has put together a four-week training course.

Training will be provided free of charge to the first 350 people who apply. The program uses a curriculum accessible from anywhere and places participants in employment with health care providers, nonprofit organizations and pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

Anyone 18 or older who is interested in increasing their skills or beginning a career in health care is encouraged to apply. A high school diploma is not required. Applicants must be willing to dedicate five to six hours per week to online learning.

To learn more, email

La Jolla Community Center offers bridge classes

The La Jolla Community Center will host a series of in-person bridge classes beginning in July.

Taught by Scott Farr, who has more than 15 years’ experience teaching bridge, the four-week classes are aimed at providing a refresher to the game for players of all levels.

Beginning bridge classes will be held at 2 p.m. Mondays beginning July 5. Intermediate classes will be held at 10:30 a.m. Mondays beginning July 5 and will cover hand evaluation and competitive bidding. Advanced classes will be at 10 a.m. Tuesdays beginning July 6 and will cover competitive, or defensive, bidding and playing.

La Jolla Community Center bridge students who had to cancel during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 will not be charged for the canceled classes. Students who need to make up classes will be given priority; new students will be accepted as space is available. Registration is required.

Students must provide proof of complete COVID-19 vaccination and wear masks while at the Community Center. For more information, email Farr at

Institute of the Americas to expand sustainability work through program merger

The La Jolla-based Institute of the Americas has integrated the University of California’s Gulf of California Marine Program with the IOA’s Environment & Climate Change Program.

The merger of the two programs will expand IOA’s research and programming on coastal and marine issues important to Mexico, increasing the potential to apply the results throughout Latin America.

The merger also supports the institute’s sustainability and climate change efforts.

The Gulf of California Marine Program was established in 2008 as a research program at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and was a part of the University of California Institute of Mexico and the United States based at UC Riverside since 2017. The program works to promote conservation and sustainable management.

— Compiled by La Jolla Light staff